Set free

17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one (Adam), much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense (Adam’s sin) judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Romans 5).

God is Holy. He is The Only Holy One, Who is justified to mete out His Judgment on sinners like you and me. He is the One Who is equitable to reward or condemn everyone according to what they have done because He knows all the truth, at all times. He is The True Judge. He will have mercy on whomever He desires, and will punish as He deems fit. We have sinned and fallen short of God’s Holy Standard. But thanks be to God, because of His Great Mercy, He has not dealt us what we deserve—wrath, judgment and eternal death.

“It was His desire to wipe the slate clean.”

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

4 But God, Who is rich in Mercy, because of His Great Love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by Grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His Kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2).

We all walked and sometimes continue to walk in the lusts of our sinful nature, our flesh, to do what is against God’s Will. Our passions for sin make us vulnerable subjects to the prince of the air, Satan. Everyone is controlled by someone or some impulse. Disobedience to God is the hallmark of one who is not subservient to Him. We were all by our nature children deserving God’s Wrath because no one is innately righteous. Look at your children from the time they learn how to walk and talk, and you will see that they need to be taught righteousness, and to be disciplined often. 

But God, Who is so rich in Mercy, saw our irremediable state and did what no one else could do for us. He took our sins and laid them on His Son, and gave Him the punishment of death that we deserved. He was crucified so that we would die in Him. God’s Grace made us whole and forgiven in the resurrection of The Lord Jesus. We are justified for sins we could not be pardoned for. It was His desire to wipe the slate clean. The Love of God compelled Him to lavish us with His Grace. While we were yet in our sin, He demonstrated His Love. By His Grace we have been saved from eternal judgement.

The Lord Jesus Christ took our place of death so that we would not have to die spiritually. Our souls would have been condemned to eternal death. When a person dies, their soul departs their body. Christ came as a human, born of The Holy Spirit. He was fully God and Man, yet He never sinned; He is Holy. He crucified our sinful flesh with His and raised our spirit with His. The spirit is the life of the soul. He has raised us up with Him to sit in the heavenly places. Our souls and spirit have been resurrected to eternal life in Heaven, and are hidden in Christ our Savior. Therefore, no sin should have dominion over you. You should no longer satiate the desires of your flesh and mind. Resist the lusts of sin. You have been ransomed to a life that is above the things of this world, in The Kingdom of God. Your life and identity is in The Lord Jesus. 

“He justified many of us by bearing our sins.”

10 Yet it pleased The Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His Soul an offering for sin, He shall see His Seed, He shall prolong His days. And the pleasure of The Lord shall prosper in His Hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His Soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My Righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53).

He, Christ The Lamb of God, offered His Soul as an offering. In the ancient days, the Jews offered an animal for their sins. They would place a hand on the head of an animal, placing their sins on it, and then killing it. The animal took the place of the Jewish people as a propitiation for the sins committed against God. But Christ offered His Soul for yours and mine. His offering was pleasing and acceptable to God because it was one out of obedience and love. The Father saw the labor of Christ’s Soul and was satisfied. The sacrifice of The Lamb, without blemish, was the only acceptable sacrifice made by The High Priest Himself, The Son of God. The priests would offer sacrifices for themselves and the people. They were sinners just as everyone else. But This High Priest is Holy, and offered a perfect sacrifice—The Perfect Lamb—sinless and without a spot. He was The Righteous Servant Who would justify many, not like the ordained priests. He justified many of us by bearing our sins. God gloried in His Purpose and it fully pleased Him. He was content to bruise Him and subject Him to grief, so that we would not have to suffer under His Hand. Never forget the price that was paid for your redemption.

“Those who believe in His Name are born of God.”

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His Name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1).

The Lord Jesus, came to the World and those He created. But they did not know Him nor did they accept Him. He came to Israel, the chosen nation of God, but they denied His Deity and crucified Him for claiming to be The Son of God, equal with The Father. But to those who believed and received Him, regardless of their nationality, He gave the right to become children of God. Those who worship and give their lives to The Son of God become sons and daughters of God. Those who come to know Christ and worship Him as Lord obtain a divine nature as children of God. Those who believe in His Name are born of God. You don’t have to be an Israelite to be a child of God. Know The Lord Jesus, trust in Him by worshiping Him with your life, and forsake a life of sin. Commit your life to the One Who gave you life, and you will dwell in the House of God, as His child, all the days of your life. 

“Justification is for those who are truly repentant.”

9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18)

Are you more justified than another before God? Righteousness is not something we impute on ourselves. We stand as individuals, on our own, before God. God doesn’t see us juxtaposed to others; He only sees us in our humility and in Christ. The Pharisee was arrogant before God, claiming his right to God’s approval for giving tithes of all that he possessed, and not sinning like those around him. The tax collector on the other hand, would not even raise his head; he felt unworthy to be in the Presence of God. He was consumed by grief for his sin. He wanted God’s Mercy more than anything else. He acknowledged he was a sinner. He left the temple justified. God exalts those who humble themselves. We are not justified by the good things we do. We are justified when we are contrite and honest about our sins. Justification is for those who are truly repentant. Good works are evidence of our faith and a demonstration of our love for The Lord. But repentance reconciles us to God, by admitting that no good works can ever make up for where we fall short of His Righteousness. 

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His Purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the Image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8).

Those who love God are those who know God and delight in Him. Those who honor God are those who are called according to His Purpose. God created them to worship, obey, love and serve Him. They were known by God before they were born, and were created to be conformed to the Image of His Son, The Lord Jesus. This was God’s intention: He created mankind, in the beginning, in His Image and Likeness, for a covenant relationship and unbroken fellowship with God. Christ is the Image and Likeness that God intended in the Book of Genesis. He is the firstborn among many—those who were foreknown, predestined, called and chosen. Those God called responded by repenting and submitting their lives to Christ; they became one with Him in His death and resurrection. They are now living by His Spirit—in His Likeness. These have been justified and been glorified by God. Those He justified, He has conformed to be in the Likeness of His Son, in righteousness, by His Spirit. They were created for His Glory and called according to His Purpose. He will work out everything for their good, because they are children of The Most High God. 

“Those who abide in Christ, by faith, are justified apart from the deeds of the Law.”

27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the Law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the Law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the Law (Romans 3).

We are justified by faith, that is there are no works that can make us right with God, but the work of Christ on The Cross. The Jews received the Law of God, yet they could not keep it. The Gentiles did not have the Law given to them, yet they still fell short of God’s Standards. All have sinned before The Holy God, except One, The Lord Jesus. Those who abide in Christ, by faith, are justified apart from the deeds of the Law. They now live by The Spirit of Christ and no longer satisfy the deeds of sinful lusts. They establish that the Law is righteous and holy because it reveals God’s Righteous requirements. By acknowledging the Law, they accept culpability for not keeping it, by repentance. They allow Christ, the only sinless One, to live through them. Faith in Christ justifies us to live in obedience to His Spirit and Word. Living by The Spirit is living by the law of faith. 

3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the Love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His Mercy He saved us; through the washing of regeneration and renewing of The Holy Spirit, 6 Whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His Grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3).

Do you think that your good nature could win you brownie points with God? We don’t need to keep a tally of the good things we do, when there’s sin to confess. We also don’t need to keep record of the sins we commit, when there’s no debt left to pay. Christ’s death is all the good works and sins forgiven, all rolled into one. God’s Grace is the only justification we need to live for His Glory. Today you may feel righteous, tomorrow you may offend or hurt someone, and sin against God. What then? He has already poured out His Spirit to renew and regenerate you, as you acknowledge your sin and turn away from it. Grace is the justification we need to go forward and keep the past in its place. Being justified by His Grace, renewed each day by His Spirit, we have eternal life in Christ. Make it your routine to repent each day and to be transformed in your thinking, evaluate your desires and actions, and be in conformity with The Spirit. 

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through Whom also we have access by faith into this Grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the Glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the Love of God has been poured out in our hearts by The Holy Spirit Who was given to us (Romans 5).

We stand in the Grace of God so that our identity is no longer in the sins we have repented of. We have access to this Grace by faith alone, not by our good works. God only sees us in Christ or apart from Him. What could be more meaningful in life than having peace with God? Let nothing snuff out your joy, when you are at peace with God. Rejoice in tribulations that limber you up to persevere. Perseverance will build your inner stamina and bolster your character, as you keep your faith in God. Cling to Him and remember you have made peace with Him. He works out everything for your good, as you are called to His Purpose because you have set your love on Him. God has poured His Love into our hearts, evidenced by The Presence of His Holy Spirit Who dwells in us. We are never alone. Peace with God gives us peace of mind, even in the trials of life. 

8 But God demonstrates His Own Love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His Blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His Life (Romans 8).

While we rejected God, disobeyed Him and lived in sin, He loved us. By Christ’s shed blood, we were given a new lease on life. Blood gives life. Think of blood donors who save lives. His Blood was the evidence of the life given for a new creation; now justified by His Life in us. And by His Life through us, we are saved from the wrath of God. Only through Christ are we saved from wrath. While we were sinners, we were reconciled by His death, and now, as those reconciled, we will be saved from the coming Judgment of God, by the very Life of Christ in us. God sees the Blood of Christ, The Life of His Son, in us. It is no longer our life but Christ in us. We are justified so that we will be saved through Him. 

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8).

Just as the Law of God revealed the truth about what is right and acceptable before God, Christ’s Words reveal the truth about righteousness and sin. If we abide in His Word, we will know the truth about sin and how to please God. The truth causes us to admit we are in need of The Savior. We can not be set free from our sins until Christ sets us free. When we practice sin consistently, we become slaves to sin. We can not fellowship with God, when we are enslaved to sin. Do you want to abide in God’s Presence forever? Then you must be set free from the shackles of sin. Only The Son of God can grant you access to The Father, as only The Son can set you free. When you are free, you are absolutely free from your sins. Sin will never define you nor will it have dominion over you because you are under a new Master. You will be His child and disciple if you abide in His Word. 

Thanks be to God who by His Great Mercy and Grace has heard our confession and accepted our repentance. He has loved us while we were sinners and reconciled us to Himself by the death and resurrection of The Lord Jesus. We will not see God’s Wrath, because we are one with Christ. The law of faith has justified us from all that we could not be justified, in the Law of God. The Blood Christ shed has given us new life in Him. His Spirit is teaching us to do what is acceptable before God. We have been given the right to become God’s children. We are justified to be conformed in the Image and Likeness of The Son of God. Grace abounds to us each day. We are renewed by His Spirit through our obedience, to love, worship, serve and honor God in an unbroken fellowship with Him. Sin no longer defines us and it will have no power over us. We have been forgiven, justified and set free from all the penalty of sin. 

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom The Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit (Psalm 32).

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